A sincere thank you to Michael for handling some things for me while I was out of pocket on Friday. Here’s to a wonderful Saturday.
- It’s about that time of the year when position previews begin to roll out, and you’ll probably see the Bears getting love in some positions more than others. One of those spots should be running back, where the team boasts a Pro Bowl back who has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and a backup who often draws comparisons to Darren Sproles. But not so fast, writes ESPN’s Mike Clay. Clay ranked all 32 NFL backfields and placed the Bears 15th in the 32-team league.
- You can have your rankings. Just know that Cohen has big-play potential whenever he touches the ball:
Tarik Cohen is a threat to break a big play every time he touches the ball. pic.twitter.com/PCa2oQ9SO8
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 7, 2018
- I was taken aback by the ranking, considering that the Howard-Cohen duo is generally regarded as one of the best tandems in the league. Then again, neither back is as well-rounded as we’d like. Howard obviously needs to work on his pass-catching ability and it would be nice to see Cohen be more than just a change-of-pace back. But still … if Matt Nagy plays to each player’s strengths, it will probably keep their weaknesses from popping up often. A new scheme for these guys could propel them to the top of the charts by season’s end.
- For what it’s worth, Nagy’s thoughts on the position is pretty much what you would want to hear from a coach whose offense possesses a talented backfield with untapped upside and potential. “[Howard] is going to be a guy that lines up and gets the ball,” Nagy said via Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website in his position preview. “But at the same time, we’re cray if we use one back. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to use multiple backs.” It’s not just the right thing to say, it’s quite obviously the smartest thing to do.
- Seriously. These guys rock:
- One place you’ll see a consensus in the rankings is that the NFC North is the strongest division for quarterbacks. Conveniently, Adam Schein of NFL.com does just that for us. Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins each have Pro Bowl seasons under their belts. And all three have led their teams to the postseason, though only one (Rodgers) who has come away with any semblance of playoff success. And the fourth quarterback of this group was the first quarterback taken in his class two drafts ago.
- This position group is awfully talented, which means NFC North defenses are going to have their hands full this season. If the quarterback is the most important position in the game (it is) and this division has the best collective group, does that mean the NFC North is the toughest division to play defense in? I’d say so.
- I’m not worried about Roquan Smith’s rookie contract status just yet, but sources tell Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio why there has been a holdup in some of the signings. Offset language in contracts is keeping some big-time draft picks – including seven in the top-10 – from officially signing their rookie deals. Contracts without offset language would allow players who are cut before the end of their rookie contract to essentially double-dip when they sign elsewhere. But players with offset language will have whatever’s left from the guaranteed part of the deal trimmed by whatever they earn in their next contract. Still, I fully expect Smith and the Bears to come to an agreement on a deal just as they did with quarterback Mitch Trubisky around this time last year.
- I somehow missed this while Trubisky was making the rounds last week:
Trubisky says he has a couple things planned to get together with his receivers between now and camp. Lot of new parts for the #Bears, who open camp early. They report July 19.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 2, 2018
- Not only is the NFL’s new PED policy strange in some respects, Kyle Long had the best response to it:
I ain’t gonna lie chief this shit ain’t happenin https://t.co/3HvqnRExfi
— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) July 5, 2018
- For the record, I would’ve never advocated this:
Did you know: If you bet money on Jay Cutler's team against the spread in every game, you would be poor. His teams went 59-90-6 against the spread (average spread of +0.4).
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) July 6, 2018